Workplace Safety Standards: What HR Needs to Know

There are many risks in workplaces that can present a serious danger to the well-being of employees. Even in seemingly low-risk positions, these can seriously impact a business, and a serious incident can potentially shutter operations entirely.

According to the International Organization for Standardization, “more than 2.3 million people die each year as a result of workplace injuries and disease.” This doesn’t count the millions of people who sustain non-fatal injuries at work. That being said, workplace safety is important for all employees. Every employee deserves to work in a safe and protected environment — one that reduces costs to the organization and improves safety in the long run.

While most job industries have safety risks, management and HR should devote more time making their work environment safer for everyone. In order to do so, however, both parties need to prioritize employees and take steps that benefit them. This will not only help improve the work environment, but it will also help improve safety standards as well. With that in mind, here are three things company leaders and HR personnel need to keep in mind while developing safety standards:

Recognizing Potential Dangers

When it comes to recognizing the potential dangers ahead of time, it’s important for HR staff to think outside the box. That’s because every industry has potential dangers. Here are a few examples:

  • In the food industry, there’s always the possibility of foodborne illness reaching the public, and in order to prevent this from happening, HR needs to equip kitchen staff members with the right tools. This includes things like stainless steel appliances, cleaning supplies, and proper hygiene standards. These all help limit the growth of bacteria found in kitchen environments.
  • In office work environments, there are many potential risks. In office areas with many workers, walking paths should be cleared of obstructions in order to prevent slip and fall accidents. Further, being physically near many coworkers can make it easier for the flu to spread, which may necessitate sanitation supplies and health advisories.
  • In healthcare facilities, HR must take steps to protect both patients and employees. In addition to the hygiene concerns mentioned above, they must provide a safe work environment by soliciting employees for feedback and listening to workplace complaints concerning potential ethics violations. Everyone needs to be on board; according to Regis College, “full organizational participation — from executives, managers and all staff members — remains the most important factor in upholding a highly ethical workplace culture.”

Another thing that could cause havoc in the workplace is something most people don’t even pay attention to is plumbing. Having access to high-quality water is important, and the last thing you want your employees to do is to drink contaminated water, which could result in illness, lawsuits, and a bad reputation. That being said, HR should ensure that the pipes holding the water aren’t contaminating drinking fountains. By making sure these things are taken care of, HR personnel can provide a safe work environment for employees and guests.

Keeping the Workplace Free of Allergens

Sneezing, wheezing, and watery eyes can leave any employee unfit for work. That’s because nearly 75 percent of all allergy symptoms affect the victim’s eyes. For some jobs, there are environmental triggers that can cause employees to feel discomfort and make it hard to breathe. Look for triggers like:

  • Chemical fumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Fragrances
  • Dust
  • Pets

Allergic reactions can make any work environment unpleasant. For HR representatives, making sure the work environment is well ventilated and has a sufficient amount of humidity is extremely important — especially since doing so can reduce the chances of mold. Dusting the workstation regularly may also help.

Closing open windows to eliminate excess pollen, utilizing humidifier, getting HVAC systems regularly cleaned/replaced, establishing a no-pet policy, and checking for food allergies before potlucks can also make the workplace safer for employees. Although some employees may still experience allergies, workplace accidents should cease to exist as long as you take steps to prevent it.

Common Workplace Accidents & Safety Tips

Generally speaking, when people hear the phrase “workers’ compensation,” they typically envision heavy machinery, employees being exposed to harsh chemicals, or potential hazards around every corner. Truthfully, a work-related injury can happen at any time, even from behind a desk. As noted above, slip and fall accidents are a serious concern. When it comes to office jobs, slip, trips and falls account over 30 percent of all personal injuries.

So, what’s something that can cause employees to slip? Any area that has a wet or oily surface can cause employees to slip and fall. This might include break rooms, door entrances, and restrooms. The weather should also be taken into consideration. In other words, if it’s wet outside from either rain or snow, floor mats should be placed near door areas to prevent employees from falling.

What causes employees to trip? A trip may occur when an employee’s view is obstructed. Poor lighting, blocked or cluttered areas, uncovered cables, wrinkled rugs, and uneven walking surfaces may all contribute to an employee falling over. Luckily, these things can be avoided by making sure that work areas are clean, walking surfaces are even, employees are wearing proper shoes, and staff members are paying attention to where they’re going. Employees should also be encouraged to report dangerous (cluttered, obstructed, or damaged) areas to HR. That way, other employees are aware of the situation.

Conclusion

Regardless of the industry, safety should always come first, and it’s up to HR to get employees to contribute to improving workplace safety efforts. This can be done by encouraging employees to become actively involved. If employees are curious, share workplace injury statistics with them. This will help put things into perspective and demonstrate just how serious these events are, no matter the job type. Lastly, be sure to provide some sort of incentive that rewards them for showing great workplace safety behavior.

Top 5 Reasons to Start an Employee Wellness Program

Not sure if you should start an employee wellness program? Here are the top 5 reasons why employee wellness programs are becoming more and more popular!

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Employee wellness programs benefits

There are some obvious benefits of employee wellness programs. Helping your employees stay healthy is great – for them. But how about your company? Is it just a waste of your time and resources? Or are there some tangible benefits for your company as well?

Let’s dig into the research and found out!

Top 5 reasons to have an employee wellness program

Here are the top reasons why you should start an employee wellness program at your company:

1. To save money

Implementing a workplace wellness program can help your company save money.

The most comprehensive review ever completed on the financial impact of worksite wellness programs has reported some incredible findings.

Among the 22 different studies that looked at wellness programs and healthcare costs, the average return on investment was 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs!

2. To improve employee productivity

Research has found that employee wellness programs have a positive effect on employee productivity.

Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that employees who take part in employee wellness programs are more productive than those who don’t.

3. To improve the retention rate

Companies who implemented employee wellness programs report higher retention rates.

Research conducted by an American Psychological Association has found that fewer (only 25%) employees in companies with employee wellness programs intend to leave their job in the next year. In companies without employee wellness programs, twice as more employees (51%) said they intend to leave their job in the following year.

4. To attract top talent

Research has found that implementing an employee wellness program improves your employer brand and helps you attract great candidates:

  • The Virgin HealthMiles and Workforce survey found that 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

5. To improve your company culture

  • A survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture.

Conclusion

Research is clear: Keeping your employees healthy is not just good for your employees, it’s also good for your company’s bottom line!

How Machine Learning Is Improving Customer Service

Efficient customer service is crucial to the success of client-facing businesses. The $350 billion industry has transformed over the last couple of decades with the mass adoption of the internet and social media, taking the customer service channels for many businesses online. Although the increased connectivity provided by technology has helped facilitate customer service processes, it has also increased customer expectations.

To keep up with these expectations, businesses are finding ways to implement machine learning into their customer service processes in hopes of efficiently handling as many customer inquiries as possible.

Customer Service Needs

Although the internet can often provide answers to almost any question a customer could have, customers more comfortable speaking directly with a person will often reach out to customer service agents. This frequently results in customer service representatives spending large amounts of time answering very basic queries, which can be monotonous and frustrating for agents. To reduce the need for customer service reps to answer these types of questions, businesses have been using AI to offer answers for basic questions before transferring clients to a customer service agent.

This is done both on the phone and online through the use of chatbots that are often employed on a business’ website and Facebook page. Over the phone, automated recordings help navigate customer calls by asking questions that the AI will either be able to answer or transferring their call to the proper department.

Online, chatbots have become a huge resource for businesses to attain customer information, gather feedback, and provide customers with quick responses to standard questions. The use of chatbots and other forms of AI is expected to help businesses manage 85 percent of their relationships with customers by 2020.

Machine learning also facilitates security processes for businesses that handle sensitive customer information. In the past, customers have been required to verify their identity by providing personal information, a process that could take many minutes, especially if a customer forgot their answers to security questions.

However, many businesses are now using two-factor authentication to verify customer identity during customer service calls. This involves verifying two pieces of information: a security question, followed by phone verification. Customer service agents will use machine learning to send a code to the phone number on file with the company, and once a customer verifies they received the code, their identity is confirmed. This approach has improved security measures and can be completed quickly.

Growing Use of Tech in Customer Service

Overall, the use of AI in customer service has increased job satisfaction for customer service agents, as well as help businesses keep up with customer expectations. Businesses need to constantly look for ways to improve customer service. One of the results of implementing AI to help facilitate customer service has been giving customer service agents more time to handle complicated customer inquiries. Increased job satisfaction for customer service representatives and reduced call volume provides them with a greater opportunity to dedicate time and empathy to customers who need a human touch for their inquiries.

As more businesses use machine learning to automate routine tasks and data entry during customer service calls, call time should be reduced, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction. Currently, in a typical six-minute customer service call, 75 percent of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research. Only 25 percent of call time is spent interacting with the customer. AI can streamline this process by memorizing customer information and creating easier routes to accomplish tasks online.

This also provides customer service agents with more time to do important customer service work online, such as responding to customer reviews, which has become a high priority for businesses over the last few years.

As more customers go online to offer feedback or complain about poor experiences with companies, the need to moderate reviews and comments has grown. In the internet age, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, if a business receives many reviews, they must dedicate resources to responding to them. This will increase customer trust in a business, as well as its ranking with Google.

As more businesses implement AI, machine learning will become the standard for customer service expectations. Although the impact AI will have on jobs within the customer service industry is unclear, the new and rapidly advancing technology will soon provide efficient customer service to consumers looking for help. AI will also help improve the job environment for customer service representatives and open the door for better customer service and increased customer satisfaction. With the implementation of machine learning, the future of customer service looks to be promising.

How to Create a Modern and Stylish Aesthetic for Your Brand

Branding is all about the impression you give to your customers and clients. The question becomes, what kind of impression do you want to give them? Regardless of the type of business you have, presenting a professional atmosphere that is still welcoming and comforting is essential, yet you want to be on the edge of business innovation as well. You want your brand to be memorable, but you want to be remembered by the right reasons. A modern and stylish aesthetic can help you appeal to a variety of customers, from millennials to baby boomers.

However, this can be a challenge. If you are in an older office building or have limited resources, changing the aesthetic of your brand can seem like a huge task. It is often difficult to determine where to start. Here are some tips on how to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand:

Work From the Outside In

The first impression customers and clients have of your brand at your physical location is the outside appearance. There is often little you can do about this when it comes to the building you are in, but there are some touches you can improve on to make your brand more appealing.

  • Your Sign and Logo: Your sign and logo may be outdated. If you have not changed them in a while, give them a fresh look. You can even get a logo created by artificial intelligence if you really want to be hip.
  • Your Door: Even if you are inside a building, you might not have much choice about certain parts of the decor, but you can install a new door for your business, or add a window decal or other touches to make a better first impression.
  • Window Coverings: If your windows are visible from outside or even the hallway, consider updating your window coverings to ones that give a more modern and stylish look. Don’t forget color and the impression it makes on clients.

The first impression customers or clients get of your business is the outside, and no matter what your limitations are in your commercial building, you can work to make a better first impression and make your brand modern and stylish from the outside in.

Remodel the Interior of Your Business

Once customers enter your business, they get an entirely different perspective. The atmosphere of your business is set right away. This involves everything from color to the way you use your space. Want a more modern and stylish aesthetic? Here are some simple tips:

 

  • Color: You should never overlook the psychology of color when decorating your office or any other space. Color has a certain effect on customers and clients, and knowing how that relates to your aesthetic is truly important. Throw pillows, window coverings, and even the color of your furniture and lampshades make a huge difference.
  • Lighting: Harsh, fluorescent lights are common in buildings and office spaces, yet they are often hard on your employees’ eyes and give your clients and customers a very flat impression. Add modern lamps, light fixtures, and other unique lighting wherever you can.
  • Furniture: Older tables and chairs, especially ones that are outdated or worn give a negative impression. Don’t forget comfort though. Form and function are both important when it comes to furniture.
  • Creature Comforts: Things like a modern fireplace when it is cold or a stylish bladeless fan when it is warm give your office a modern and sleek look, but also ensure that your customers, clients, and employees are comfortable.

There are other things you can do to improve the atmosphere as well. Smart furniture often includes USB plugins for charging phones and other features, and installing devices like Alexa or the Apple Home Pod to allow your smart furniture to be voice controlled is a great idea.

Your employees will love smart desks that can show them calendar alerts, phone messages, and even remind them to stand and walk around. The interior of your business and the comfort of your employees, customers, and clients is one of the best investments you can make to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand.

Improve the Look of Your Employees

There are two ways to control the look of your employees: One is to have uniforms, and the other is to have a dress code. Uniforms, if opted for, should be fun, stylish and updated frequently as fashion changes. Adding fun accessories like colorful ties and hip and stylish suspenders can help you attract and keep new customers.

Even if you don’t have uniforms, a well-defined dress code can keep all of your employees on the same page and create an innovative culture that will also attract the right customers and clients. This can mean including brands in your dress code, specific colors, and the type and style of clothing that is acceptable.

Many companies offer employees a clothing allowance to ensure employees can be in compliance regardless of their financial situation. Improving the look of your employees is another great way to create a modern and stylish aesthetic for your brand.

We all want our company to be as hip as Google or as fun a place to work as Facebook. We want new customers and clients from millennials to baby boomers to be impressed by us. To accomplish this, making your brand aesthetic modern and stylish is essential.

5 Workplace Wellness Statistics You Should Know About

Workplace wellness programs: Yay or nay? Discover the data-based answer!

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Workplace wellness programs: A growing workplace trend

Workplace wellness programs are getting more and more popular. This new workplace trend has gained a lot of attention recently and stirred quite a debate.

Some argue that companies should not be burdened by taking care of their employees’ health. On the other hand, there are voices arguing that in today’s modern world, these programs are becoming a necessity.

Above all, there are questions about the effectiveness and ROI of these programs. To answer these questions, we dug deep into research.

Top 5 workplace wellness statistics

Workplace wellness statistic #1

According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75% of employers indicated that their companies offered some type of a wellness program, resource or service to employees.

Workplace wellness statistic #2

A comprehensive review of the literature has found that the average return on investment of workplace wellness programs is 3.27. This means that for every dollar that was spent on the program the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.

Workplace wellness statistic #3

A new survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine found that an overwhelming 77% of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture.

Workplace wellness statistic #4

Research suggests that employers save on average $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs.

Workplace wellness statistic #5

The Virgin HealthMiles/Workforce survey found that about 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.

Conclusion

Research has shown that workplace wellness programs have proven benefits, both for employers and employees. Employee wellness programs can do much more than just keep your employees healthy.

These programs can help you improve your company culture, reduce absenteeism, attract talent and even save money!

 

Trying To Sell A Business With Debt Before Going Through Settlement Procedure

Some of the small business owners in the USA might have accumulated some commercial debt over the past time. Whenever a business opens up first, the debt will start to work out high because the owner is the one to must pay for the available startup costs revolving around the business. Business debt is quite typically stated to be in form of some bank loans, business credit cards and even following the idea of business lines of credit. Bank loan is always stated to be a form of loan, which the company will always look for at first for building a business.

After that when the company has been in operation for a period of 2 years and has proper annual reports it will state the profit for business. This point will make it all the more eligible for business line of credits and business credit cards. These major forms of debts are widely used for expanding business with more inventory, advertising, real estate, unforeseen expenses and so much more over here. If you don’t have any clue regarding that, then log online and get some help now. Pros are here to offer you withdebt settlement reviews, which will help you, understand the complexity of businesses, trying to sell their working station with debt in mind.

More towards the art of profitable business:

No matter whatever niche or industry you are in, the profitable business is one where the annual revenue is always going to be higher than annual expenses. In case, the business over here is ready to have more annual expenses than the annual revenue after few years down the lane, then it is always likely to get the business failing for some more reason.

It is then time for the owner of the business to make way for the critical choice as per the future statement of the firm over here. They can always sell the company right at cheaper price with the current business debt associated to it. Or they might even sell company for such a greater price and use the same proceeding to pay off debt before even the ownership is transferred right to the said buyer.

Things that might happen to the debt:

So, you have already made plans to actually sell the company even when it has debt written on it completely. So, the next step over here is to check what will happen to the debt, when you plan to sell the company to another name within the same business niche. In most of the cases, the owner will be the one to sell the business with a current debt well attached to it.

  • Even though the debt might prove to be a bit high, buyers are also quite interested in just purchasing business as they are likely to get it for a rather discounted price.
  • It will provide the buyers all sorts of opportunities to just procure ownership of that business quickly, with the major hopes of turning it just around and making it all the more profitable that it was before.
  • If they are able to do it and once the deed is done, they can always make use of the profits for making the rightful payments towards existing debt of the firm.
  • Now, in terms for the seller, they are rather happy to get the chance to sell their businesses with debt right attached to it as they can cash out of business while just leaving behind all the responsibilities of running around and paying up for the debt they are in.
  • Well, this story is rather good to see but cannot always prove to be true. It solely depends on the kind of sale you have arranged for between the buyer and the owner of the said business in question.

Trying to sell shares versus assets:

There are times when larger businesses with stock shares traded on public market might want to sell business through a platform called Stock Purchase Agreement. Here, instead of the buyer just getting a check for agreed purchase price, the seller will have to transfer a major number of the firm’s shares under the buyer’s name, which is equivalent to the price of the purchase made.

Whenever the buyer gets the ownership in question, they will eventually own most of the company and can make some of the executive decisions as the owner. But, they are also stated to be held responsible for all debt and liabilities that the company has right now. At the end of it all, the truth is that business debt will not stick to person but rather to company itself. So, anyone planning to own the company will be held accountable for debt.

Focusing on the small business owners:

Then you have the smaller business owners, who do not have any option of just selling their companies through any of the stock purchase agreement as most of them are here with private companies that are not traded on any of the public market.

  • It means that if the smaller business owner is making any plan for selling the firm then they are going to do it through asset sale arrangement.
  • These forms of sales are always going to vary depending on assets and liabilities number which will get transferred to the said buyer.
  • In some of the cases, the buyer is not here to purchase the entire business but will add some of assets which the company gets to own and sometimes with a percentage of the accounts as made receivable.

On the other hand, you have the seller to retain percentage of the accounts as receivable and any current debt under the company’s name. The same exact agreements of the current asset sakes arrangements are made different from seller is usually the one for keeping most of liabilities while buyer receive most of assets and accounts. You get to learn more about that from reliable centers now.

The Appropriate Guide for Conserving the Flow of Cash in Your Startup Business

A business debt consolidation loan is responsible for helping you to take one particular business loan for clearing off numerous small business loans. If it is used in a wise manner, a debt consolidation loan can help in covering the repayment of the business loans that already exist and also reduce the frequency of the scheduled payments. Out of the total businesses, which are established, 50% fail because the funding options are limited, http://www.entrepreneur.com has stated.

A debt consolidation loan is responsible for making the process of clearing the loans extremely manageable as well as highly affordable. As the owner of a startup business, it is your responsibility to understand how a business debt consolidation loan is going to work and if it is going to be the ideal solution for the business.

Working of the business debt consolidation loans

A business debt consolidation loan is for the owners of the startup businesses, who are constantly struggling with the different repayment schedules for the multiple loans that they have taken for their business. Getting hold of the business debt consolidation loan is going to assist in converting the multiple accounts as well as payments into one single loan product, along with the predictable rate of interest as well as a great payment schedule.

It is extremely hectic to remember the due dates of the different loan payments and it is even more stressful to worry whether you have the necessary cash for covering the cost. With the help of a debt consolidation loan, you will be able to control the cash flow of your business, as you are going to track a single and predictable payment. Instead of remembering the different due dates of the loan payments, it is a smarter idea to opt for business debt consolidation loans.

Most of the business owners also tend to confuse between refinancing and debt consolidation. Though they are similar, you have to understand that they are not the same.

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Refinancing: The borrower is responsible for taking out new loans at low rates of interest in order to clear a loan of a high rate of interest.

Debt consolidation: The borrower will be taking out a new loan for clearing the already existing loans.

It is true that debt consolidation is definitely one form of loan refinancing, but you cannot deny the fact that all refinancing is not debt consolidation. If you are replacing a business loan for a completely new loan at a low rate of interest, it is known as refinancing, but you cannot call it debt consolidation. Debt consolidation is responsible for converting the multiples loans into a single loan.

Additionally, debt consolidation is not always responsible for low-interest rates. Ideally, a business debt consolidation loan is going to save a lot of money, but the primary focus of this kind of a loan is to make the payments manageable, by replacing different lenders with a single lender. This can help you to get a much better rate of interest. This is one of the main reasons as to why you need to be extremely smart as a borrower, and ensure that you are working with reputable lenders, performing your research, and also checking the calculations numerous times. You need to ensure that consolidating the debt is going to be ideal for your startup business. To know more, you can go through nationaldebtrelief.com.

Steps for successful debt consolidation

When you are applying for the debt consolidation loan for your startup business, you need to consider the simple steps that have been mentioned below.

Identify the current debts: You need to consider the existing loans of your business along with the details associated with each. You have to take into consideration the outstanding loan amount, the rate of interest, the lender, the date of maturity, and most importantly, the schedule of the payment.

Check if the loans have any prepayment penalty: You need to remember that when you are opting for a debt consolidation loan, you will get one business loan for clearing off the other business loans. Paying the small loans before the maturity date can be responsible for triggering the prepayment penalties.

Determine the business debt that you are interested in consolidating: Once the complete details of the loans along with the prepayment penalties are available to you, you need to have knowledge about the loans that you are interested in combining into one large loan. This is going to help you a lot when you are consolidating your business debts.

Calculating the total area of the loan products and taking the average: It is obvious that you will need to have knowledge about the APR of the existing loans so that you have proper knowledge about the interest rate that the new loan is going to beat. It is not similar to the rate of interest, but it is the annual interest of a particular loan, which includes the fees, and provides the honest assessment that is associated with the cost of the same loan.

Look for the new debt consolidation loans: It is also important to visit local banks, checking the online lenders, and understanding what you are going to qualify for. This will help you to understand all the loan options that you have for your business.

Making easy and timely payments: After all the above steps have been followed, you are going to get your new debt consolidation loan. It is crucial that you maintain a proper relationship with your lender and avoid the fees, by ensuring that you are making the payments on proper time.

If you are following all these steps, it is going to be easier for you to take an informed and educated decision about whether the business is going to benefit from the debt consolidation loan.

Conclusion

It is completely up to you whether you want to go for debt consolidation or you are interested in trying any other debt relief option. However, ensure that you are keeping everything that has been mentioned above on your mind so that it becomes easy for you to take an educated decision.

How to Keep Your Business Premises Secure

Nowadays, when the topic of keeping one’s business safe is brought up, the majority of people think about protecting their enterprise in the digital environment. However, what about office materials and supplies, the safety of your office employees, confidential information stacked on office desks and corporate cars parked outside during the night? In retail, substantial amounts of money are stacked inside, which makes it all into a valuable target for thieves, burglars and other malicious third-parties. All in all, keeping your business premises secure is far from simple, yet, there are more than a couple of ways in which you can do so. Here are six of them.

Keep the surroundings tidy and well-illuminated

The vast majority of burglars are likely to attempt breaching your premises during the night and to do so, they’ll use landscape to sneak up. By keeping the surroundings of the office tidy enough and well-illuminated, you’ll make the environment itself act as a powerful deterrent. The very idea that they can be seen approaching the place from miles away may be enough to sway some potential burglars. Also, keep in mind that any debris or ill-placed landscaping element might serve as a temporary cover. Therefore, try some strategic planning when organizing your premises.

Invest in the monitoring system

The next thing you need is a reliable security system. This ranges from a surveillance system all the way to your locks and alarms. First of all, the very existence of a surveillance system is a deterrent. Second, it provides you with evidence that you can use, later on, in court. Third, it has more than anti-burglary uses. This way, you can also check who and when came to visit your premises, which is incredibly important for your visitor system (something we’ll discuss a bit later). Make sure to find a reliable alarm monitoring system in order to keep your premises safe and sound at all times.

Work on your visitor system

Even in a fictional scenario where you can trust your staff with 100 percent certainty (which is never the case), you need to understand that visitors still pose a substantial threat. Therefore, you need to write a visitor access policy and come up with a system that should allow you to carefully monitor them every step of the way. You can start by handing them out name tags or safety vests, not just for their safety but also so that they can be spotted from a mile away. Even better, they need to be escorted by an employee while on the premises. This employee is there to guide them through all the areas that they have access to. Namely, this is probably the only way for you and a visitor to be completely safe.

Focus on entry points

The most logical step in securing your premises lies in making sure your entry points are properly organized. Generally speaking, every business needs to have a checkpoint (other than emergency exit) through which every visitor and employee needs to pass on the way to their post. Most commonly, you’ll place the receptionist on the entry, as well as hire a security guard. The routine checkup that every visitor has to undergo depends on your personal decision. Just keep in mind that you still want visitors to feel welcome, so turning your premises into a fortress might be a bad idea. Therefore, you need to find a suitable compromise which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.  

Safeguard important equipment and data

When it comes to protecting your company’s most important assets, equipment and data security is crucial. Not all of your workplace should be off limits but there are some areas where this would be a smart idea. A storage, records room and conference room should be off-limits to visitors. In fact, even your own staff might have limited access to these areas. Sure, distrusting your own workforce is a bad business practice, but we shouldn’t pretend, even for a second, that employee theft isn’t a real threat. Keep in mind that where there’s a valuable asset, there’s a basis for temptation and you can only research so much during your vetting process.

Be careful what you announce in public

Some businesses prefer to take photos of their premises and upload them on their website, which is a sound strategy, yet, not always a wise one. You see, giving people a chance to do a survey of your office and its surrounding without any effort is generally a bad practice. Second, if your office is undergoing works, which is something that might cause a lapse in its security, the last thing you want to do is announce this publicly on social networks. Sure, you need to notify your clients and partners, but try to keep this list on a need-to-know basis.

Conclusion

At the very end, you need to understand that there are so many different factors that go into keeping your business safe. Sadly, it takes a lapse on a single front for this entire system to collapse. Therefore, you need to be thorough, systemic and take a comprehensive approach that allows for future upgrades.

How to Interview Candidates Effectively: 3 Simple Ways

How to make your job interviews more effective at predicting job performance? Here are 3 simple ways!

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Do we need a more effective way to interview candidates?

Here are 2 interesting statistics:

  • Recent research has found that nearly three in four employers (74 percent) say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position.
  • According to Career Builder, a single bad hire can cost a company upwards of $50,000.

I rest my case.

How to make your job interview more effective?

Here are 3 easy ways to make your job interview more effective at predicting job performance:

1. Conduct a structured interview

Structured job interviews are more efficient than semi-structured or structured interviews when it comes to predicting job performance. Meta-analysis research shows that structured interviews are up to twice as effective at predicting job performance than unstructured ones!

Take action now:  Prepare interview questions before the interview and ask each of your candidates the same questions in the same order.

2. Conduct a behavioral interview

Research shows that behavioral interviews are more valid and accurate for making hiring decisions. Behavioral interviews are based on the evaluation of candidates’ past behaviors. In other words, in a behavioral interview, an interviewer asks candidates about their past work experience and performance.

Take action now: Check out the best examples of behavioral interview questions!

3. Do a job simulation

According to LinkedIn’s report, only 32% of respondents use this technique, even though 84% say it is effective. In a job simulation, you ask your candidates to complete the type of tasks they would work on if hired.

Take action now:  Think of a great job simulation exercise for your currently open job position. Depending on the role you are looking to fill, it could be a task to write a short copy, outline a presentation, solve a certain problem, brainstorm a few ideas, solve a certain problem, etc.

Conclusion

Stop relying on your gut feeling when hiring and start using data backed techniques. Implementing any of these 3 tips are guaranteed to make your job interview more predictive of your candidates’ job performance.

 

Cobots – The New Employee

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

 

The renaissance we are currently experiencing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and all forms of Machine Learning (ML), has given rise to widespread discussion on how business will run in the immediate future. As the impact of AI starts to be applied to real-world use cases, we will inevitably need to get used to some new terminology. One of the technology industry’s new favorites is the notion of the ‘cobot’, short for collaborative-robot.

Cobots come in many forms. Some will be purely software-based helper robots that we might think of as sophisticated extensions of chatbots or virtual assistants. Some will more physically manifest themselves as robot arms, exoskeletons or some other form of intelligently programmed machinery. Some will be a super-smart mix of both.

 

Your intelligent new office buddy

You can think of cobots as your new office buddies and people—I do mean all of us―are going to have to get used to working alongside intelligent machines, in close proximity, very soon.

Cobot brains are composed of software-based virtual services that form the synapses of ‘thought’—we know its processing and data analytics really―that they run on. Like a Tamagotchi, they do need feeding and watering, but only in the form of software updates, exposure to new datasets and patches for security provisioning and so on.

People who find the notion of cobots unnerving should perhaps stand back and consider the fact that machines have already been looking after us in close proximity for years. Your desktop machine, tablet and smartphone are all using AI to power the spam filter algorithms that assess every email you get for its potential threat value.

If it helps you warm up to the concept, think of cobots as just one step further than a spam filter. But instead of just protecting you from a potential virus, cobots will be able to intuitively manage your work schedule, actions and business decisions, to create a better employee experience all round.

As DXC Technology’s Marc Wilkinson writes in Wired:

For businesses, the promise of AI is that [intelligent assistants] will be embedded across all aspects of the organization. Such agents will analyse data, discover patterns over time and then make decisions based on predictive analysis. The outcome? The application of AI on this level will make businesses not only more efficient, but also more profitable.

 

Behavioral responsibility

As shiny and fabulous as all this sounds, there is a responsibility factor to bear in mind here. As we start to feed data into cobot brains, we need to be able to reflect a consciousness of and appreciation for society’s acceptable behavioral norms.

This means that cobots will need to be able to assess the risk factor in terms of the judgements they give to any individual worker based on that person’s skills, background and other competencies. To do this effectively, we will need to be able to assess and measure individual workers’ skills in an even more granular and mathematical way before we start to engineer more automation of this kind into our lives.

Cobots will also need to appreciate cultural, ethical and behavioral norms for the global culture that they are applied in depending on location—and this is of course a subject in and of itself.

 

Cobots and global digital workflows

As the cobots start to take over the mundane tasks in our world, we must consider how people will now coexist in the new world of automated controls that drive digital workflows and how we actually implement these devices―be they software-based, hardware-based or both—in the workplace.

Some argue that we will now need to be able to measure an individual’s rank or score in terms of workplace competency. If we accept this methodology, then it could arguably help us find the engineering point at which we can apply cobot technology to an individual’s role.

To reference DXC’s Marc Wilkinson again, he notes that really smart cobots that run on fine-tuned ML models will be able to bring a new level of workplace personalization to our daily routines and discover where we could be doing better. He talks about ‘intelligent agents’ that are capable of interpreting emails for us to automatically schedule meetings, flag important tasks and even unsubscribe us from newsfeeds that we never open, and more.

With a cobot as your new office buddy, we can start to think about the workplace itself from a different perspective. We’re all used to open plan office seating layouts these days, but with cobots in the workplace, the software itself will be able to straddle cross-team functionality matrices that far outstrip the boundaries of the physical office itself. For example, team member actions in the UAE can be automatically reflected in plans for the UK or US offices in near real-time. The cobot doesn’t sleep, so a new global digital workflow starts to become possible.

 

A toast to cobot IPA

With cobot technology now developing fast, we will more clearly be able to understand our transition from RPA to IPA or IRPA. If Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows us to program home heating controls, for example, based on defined patterns, then Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA, or just IPA) is one step further, where home heating controls start to program themselves for optimum usage and efficiency based upon observed patterns of use. Cobots have IRPA in their ‘DNA’ from the get-go.

We’re on the cusp of many technologies―perceived today as almost ‘toy like’, such as self-driving cars—becoming quite natural. We will think that cobots and intelligent assistants are quite standard in half a decade’s time. In the same way that you went from reading a map in the car and now automatically turning the GPS on, you get to a point where you just expect a new technology to be there…and cobots will be there.

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

Chris Pope, VP Innovation at ServiceNow